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Viewing scripture and doctrine through the prism of


Bill “Papa” Lee

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Having been a student of the scriptures for most of my life, I noticed that most people cannot view the scriptures as they are written, but see them through the prism of (already) established beliefs. Catholics see (structure) Catholicism, Mormons see (works) Mormonism, Evangelicals see (grace) Evangelism. Another thing I have noticed is in Catholicism and Mormonism there are detailed doctrines about angels, priesthood, church structure, etc, where Evangelicals speak little of these things, but focus almost all of there energy on grace and the errors of those who do not believe as they do (I am speaking generally and not individually) For the rest of this I refer you too an article on Seth Payne's blog on belief. I am including a quote below as a tease.

All human knowledge is a direct function of human experience. Human experience comes in two separate, but related, forms. The first form is the experience of the five senses: taste, smell, touch, sight, and sound. The second form is experiences internal to the human mind: emotion, general thought, idea formulation, etc
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I don't know. If that were true, conversion to another religion would be extremely difficult if not impossible since you would not understand the context that distinct doctrines in other churches would have. Having been raised Catholic, while I can see catholic influence and religion, it never the less did not mean I could not see the Mormon standpoint, anymore than I can see the Catholic standpoint now.

Does understanding naturally lead to conversion? No, but mutual dialogue and conversion are impossible without it.

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Does understanding naturally lead to conversion? No, but mutual dialogue and conversion are impossible without it.

I think that depends on the degree of understanding. If one becomes entirely immersed in trying to understand Christianity from the perspective of another sect, then it does lead to conversion. If one delves no further than trying to grasp the intellectual construct behind the thinking of that other sect, such as a comparative religion exercise, then I think such an understanding would not be the starting point of a path to conversion. Certainly the limitation on the study of other faiths by missionaries is a 'safeguard' against their becoming immersed in an other religion and converting to it.

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Hi Pa Pa--

Having been a student of the scriptures for most of my life, I noticed that most people cannot view the scriptures as they are written, but see them through the prism of (already) established beliefs.

I would reword your statement: "[No one can] view the scriptures as they are written, [without a great deal of deliberate, honest, and self-conscious reflection], but [otherwise] see them through the prism of (already) established beliefs." Gadamer has a great deal to say about this. See also the relevant volumes of Thistleton's oeuvre.

All human knowledge is indeed variously, but inevitably, "situated." I would be truly pleased if you have come to realize this.

Best.

cks

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Having been a student of the scriptures for most of my life, I noticed that most people cannot view the scriptures as they are written, but see them through the prism of (already) established beliefs. Catholics see (structure) Catholicism, Mormons see (works) Mormonism, Evangelicals see (grace) Evangelism. Another thing I have noticed is in Catholicism and Mormonism there are detailed doctrines about angels, priesthood, church structure, etc, where Evangelicals speak little of these things, but focus almost all of there energy on grace and the errors of those who do not believe as they do (I am speaking generally and not individually) For the rest of this I refer you too an article on Seth Payne's blog on belief. I am including a quote below as a tease.

I would like to hear some comments and opinions of all faiths represented here.

Link to article on Seth's blog

I do not agree that there are two ways.

1) To see the Scriptures of Church Fathers as they are written, or

2) Through the prism of already established beliefs.

In order to better understand any written literature, one takes into account what one can of the beliefs and experiences of the author. One will understand all of Dostoevsky's writings better by knowing that he was led before a firing squad that deliberately fired blanks to scare the "condemned" rather than kill them, that he was a gambler, and had a messianic view of the role of Russian Orthodoxy for the modern world. If I read his works "as they are written", putting that knowledge aside, I am not helped in understanding but hindered. Neither the Scriptures, nor the Fathers were written in an historical vacuum, and we are not supposed to interpret them in a vacuum either. We can be misled by wrong beliefs or bad history, but the solution can not in my opuinion, bwe to abandon the idea of knowing the minds of the authors altogether in favor of a supposed "neutral reading".

I read Seth Payne's article. I agree that every scrap of the knowledge men have begins with sense experience. The internal interpretation of knowledge intellectually and emotionally does not itself seem to me to be the same knowledge. It seem like an extension, with a connection, but not the same thing. We can establish by external experience certain facts and apply agreed upon principles to their interpretation. Would we not always try to remove emotion, changable passions from the equation? Anyway, I'm no philosopher as you can see.

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